Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why not to apologize for an “incomplete idea” or for “thinking out loud”

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I love innovation, coming up with new ways of staying relevant and using new tools. It’s not always about only the new, shiny object either. There are plenty of established things that are still worth using or keeping around – even while we are continuously innovating. And sometimes it’s not about the tools anyway. It can be about behaviors, workflows or different ways to tell an authentic story in an even better way.

Recommended reading for you:

Tools help us share our stories, but they don’t create them for us

Interestingly, though, when groups of people innovate together, try to solve a problem or even just try to figure out what the problem might be at some time, it’s almost a requirement that somebody will say:

I’m thinking out loud, and…. (INSERT IDEA)


This is an incomplete idea ….

Really, these two can just be struck from our book of phrases that we use. I think we use them to make sure that the people we are talking to know that this might not be a great thought.

Hey, if you don’t like it, no worries, I wasn’t done thinking about it anyway.

But presenting incomplete ideas actually is one way to come up with great ideas. And others can help us with that. Of course, that only works if we present that incomplete idea.

The best and most collaborative groups of people don’t need these phrases at all. They don’t use them. They don’t even think about them. They just share ideas worth – or potentially worth – sharing. So how do you do that? Here are some guiding principles leaders and their teams can follow:

  • Every idea is good enough to be at least heard.
  • Better ideas come out of half-baked ones.
  • At the least, people appreciate being heard.
  • Ideas shared verbally now can bring out even better ideas way later.
  • Listen first and second.
  • Evaluate some.
  • Judge later.
  • Try to improve ideas vs. declining them – especially as a leader

Recommended reading for you:

Authentic storytelling isn’t about being right or wrong

Once, I was working with a vice president who was leading a huge change leadership initiative. Most of our ideas were exchanged in short texts or in passing in the hallway or parking lot. Some ideas didn’t go anywhere. Some were implemented. Some of those months later. The key was that despite the very informal system, ideas didn’t die. We moved  ideas forward when they appeared to help our shared goals. When we could see a slimmer of a hope it might be worth trying… especially when nobody else hadn’t tried it. What happened after we shared ideas informally, we kept thinking about them here and there. Since we were open to new ideas, some started bubbling up again and others went on the back burner. But it helped the organization be successful and seen as an innovative leader. Not dismissing ideas and sharing them openly and without fear worked.

Disclaimers: The information provided in articles is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Enjoy and best of luck telling the best stories in your organization and life!

Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I’m Christoph Trappe.

I’ve written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs.

If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I’m always happy to chat!

Thanks for reading!

– Christoph

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